Why influencers and affiliates are similar

The latest buzzword to hit online is influencer marketing. Marketers have been using brand ambassadors to build audiences for a long time. Influencer marketing is a by product of the growth of social media channels and is rapidly growing as a stand alone digital medium.

What does influencer marketing mean, and how can you utilise it to build your own affiliate brand?

We investigate the rise of nano influencers and how your affiliate marketing should embrace this rising trend.

What makes an influencer different from an affiliate?

An influencer by definition is someone who has established credibility in a specific industry. Affiliate sites do this too, whether it’s by servicing customer needs, or facilitating the buying process – affiliates are responsible for influence. The core difference is the channel that is being used, to exert such influence moving from a website to another social or online channel. The idea of building up a community and fan base then endorsing products is nothing new but the idea of influencer marketing as a stand alone marketing element – is.

The world of influencers really kicked off with celebrities and the advent of social media being used to share instant stories, or opinions. Soon, they were paid to endorse consumer products. With everything from clothing brands to lifestyle supplements featured, it was something of a free for all. Over the last few years, these influencers have had to be much more careful on how they brand their posts due to new regulations. 

Social media sites don’t want to be seen as a platform on which people can deceive their fans, so they’ve rolled out tools and rules to mark sponsored posts. This is where affiliates differ slightly, as it’s not so common to see posts marked as sponsored or disclaimers about earning income. 

Affiliates also only earn when the product is sold, whereas influencers will charge either way. They’ve given your brand the exposure and if sales are not achieved, it’s not their concern. While these income streams differ slightly, we’re still pushing our partner products in order to earn more money. 

How you can learn from these influencers…

While influencers and affiliates have a lot of crossover, not all affiliates see themselves in this light. They consider their form of marketing as an entirely different beast, with different rewards. However, there are more similarities than there are differences and there are similar challenges to overcome by each. 

Whether you think of your brand as an affiliate portal or an influencing force driving traffic to operators, there’s a lot to learn from those that are successful in these fields. This is a vast industry and there are many different ways to acquire new traffic. While many influencers tend to be celebrity individuals, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred.

Recently at AffiliateFEST we heard about the rise of nano and micro influencers and how working with these individuals can help promote your brand at a cost effective price driving new pockets of audiences to engage with your brand. There are still questions to be asked about how social responsibility is managed in this sphere but the logic behind the concept is sound.

Some influencers have been burned by this, especially those that have a proportionate amount of followers under the age of 18. This has made things more complicated for those that want the best of both worlds, as operators are now cautious about this kind of marketing. We’re living in disruptive time for online advertising and there are always merits to be gained from exploring new avenues. While you might not consider yourself to be an influencer, as an affiliate site or a social or community following, you simply – are!

If you really want to get to grips with Influencer Marketing you’ll not want to miss our next Affiverse Bootcamp taking place in London on the 21 -22 March 2019. Visit our event page to book your seat or contact our Sales Team to find out more about the workshops, content and expert speakers who’ll be presenting at this event.

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